Say hello to Yana and Bo, two robots who want to teach your five-year-old to write code. The newly crowdfunded Play-i system uses music, animation, and stories to teach kids ages 5 to 12+ to program their new robot friends--and have fun in the process. The learning and storytelling platform combines bots designed for interactive play with a visual programming interface that can be accessed on a phone or tablet. It's so simple, it doesn't even require reading or writing skills. With a few intuitive commands, inquisitive kids can control Yana and Bo's motion, regulate their sounds and lights, and even make them interact with the world around them. The pair--whose names are derived from "Robot" and "You Are Not Alone"--even detect each other, playing games like hide-and-seek on command.
According to Code.org, 90 percent of U.S. schools are not teaching any computer science. Eyebrows have been raised this year as the U.K. passed a plan to educate every child how to code. In my opinion, parents of every student in every school at every level should demand that all students be taught how to code. They don't need this skill because they'll all go into it as a career -- that isn't realistic -- but because it impacts every career in the 21st century world. Any country recognizing that will benefit in the long term. Here's how you can start.
“ Las nuevas tecnologías en clase, la inclusión en las aulas, la educación a distancia y la inteligencia emocional en la escuela fueron los principales asuntos que centraron la clausura del VII Encuentro Internacional de Educación (EducaRed).”
There’s a serious demand for coders and IT professionals today. A good developer is worth his or her weight in gold. My students are interested in gaming and creating apps, but not enough Rhode Island students graduated with a computer science degree last year to fill increasing demands. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics states that computer programmers with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn over $71,000, and software developers with a bachelor’s over $90,000. By comparison, entry-level pay for teachers with a bachelors’ is half as much.
Despite the attractive salary, there is still a shortage of qualified people in the field. There are several initiatives trying to change all this. One is the “Hour of Code,” conducted as a part of Computer Science Week, which is December 9-15 this year. The premise is this–everyone can learn about coding, not just CS professionals. Coding teaches valuable skills like logic, sequencing, math, dedication, design thinking, and so many other skills that it should be part of our curricula. Sadly, it’s not.
In Rhode Island, the Highlander Institute is trying to change this. The Highlander Institute is a non-profit organization that uses innovative methods to try to improve education for all students. One of its primary missions is increasing the use of productive technology, technology integration, and blended learning in all classrooms. Because coding is so important, the Institute is trying to spread the message and get teachers across the state to commit to the Hour of Code. The more teachers, students, and families that participate in this initiative, the more we will demystify coding and get students involved in excellent career paths that the nation needs. This shouldn’t just be an initiative in the “biggest little state in the Union.” It must be nationwide.
Most people feel that coding is inaccessible. It’s not. There are so many resources available that an average person who’s never seen code can learn the fundamentals. I started learning code for two reasons. First for my blog, because there is a lot I can do with it if I learn to code just a bit. But second, and more importantly, I see and beta test edtech apps and platforms. Sometimes I see something that needs to be tweaked. When giving feedback to entrepreneurs, it’s helpful to know if I asked them to do something very simple or if I just asked them to commit coding seppuku. I’m just an infant in this field, but little by little, I improve. It doesn’t only help me speak with real hard-core developers, it helps me connect with my students, a great number of whom are interested in this coding and game development.
Commit to exploring computer science, no matter what age group you teach. This week’s Learnist feature includes resources for the very young through to the adult level. Once you try coding and make your first simple creation, you’ll be hooked.
Even if you’re hesitant, promise yourself the “Hour of Code” at the very least. If you’re currently in the classroom, dedicate one hour to your students as well. Please comment–tell the world how it went, and if you’re hooked, too. We’d be interested to hear via Twitter as well. Tag us at @Edudemic, contact me @runningdmc, or comment directly on the Learnist boards or and by following @LearnistTweets. I’d love to continue the conversation on this all-important issue.
El Portal Innova surge por iniciativa de un colectivo de profesionales, asociaciones, entidades y ciudadanos, preocupados por la falta de soporte científico y ético de las decisiones político-administrativas adoptadas en nuestro sistema escolar.